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Future Vaccines Could Come in a Microneedle Patch


Would you take a vaccine in a patch rather than a needle? These researchers may have just discovered how.

Scientists at Stanford University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 3D-printed a vaccine patch that you can apply directly to the skin painlessly and may be even more effective than your typical syringe vaccine delivery.

Using a prototype 3D printer, the team of researchers developed the polymer patch and coated it with immune cells that vaccines are meant to target, developing a way to administer vaccines that’s not only effective but could even be done in the comfort of your own home.

In tests, this vaccine patch generated a immune response that was 10 times greater than a vaccine injection to protect against pathogens as well as a significant T-cell and antigen-specific antibody response to boost immunity, according to recent study published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

Using this technology, the patch could revolutionize how we take vaccines and rework them to suit a number of inoculations for diseases like measles, the flu, hepatitis, or even COVID-19.

However these patches aren’t the easiest to make, requiring a higher degree of customization compared to most microneedle patches that work from a template, according to the press release.

If you’re eager to give this method a try, the vaccine tech may not be too far away from the public. The research team has already started working on RNA vaccine microneedle patches, like the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for further testing.

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